Going golden

Moving into the golden age; golden ash, crack willows, silver birches, Lombardy poplars, rugosa roses, acers, all transmuting to gold while Cotinius cogygria ‘Grace’  and Malus ionensis provide highlights of crimson and scarlet.


It happens so quickly, one minute I’m observing the faintest tinge of warm orange filtering through the green Malus ionensis leaves, the next minute they’re forming a gorgeous multicoloured carpet under the tree and floating in the water bowl.  Simultanously one minute the days are warm and bright and extend into light filled evenings, the next minute a sharp chill is noticed morning and evening, and darkness descends at 6.00. I’m walking to my car after work in the gloaming.

Coral Bark maple and Canna

Coral Bark maple and Canna eremanii

I have two Coral bark maples, purchased at different times and from different nurseries, but unexpectedly they’re quite different to each other. However this time of the year they are both glowing a lovely warm amber tinted yellow

Interesting how the Malus ionensis crabs determinedly remain green, a lovely fresh green, and they’re a lovely spherical shape, and it’s very easy to roll one’s ankle when walking under the tree. This delightful small tree isn’t known for its crab apples, the gorgeous Barbara Cartland spring blossom and brilliant autumn leaves are enough, especially when combined with its elegant branch formation.  However the last couple of years have surprisingly produced a bumper crop of crab apples.


There was a group of Lombardy poplars growing beside the rivulet a few houses up from me when I first moved here. Now there is just one left and each year it suddenly bursts into the limelight glowing gold against the leaden green of the native bush.








My little Fraxinus excelsior ‘Aurea’, a cultivar purchased with the moniker “Golden twig”, is lighting up the dark creek end of the garden with bright pale yellow. When purchasing I was assured that the ‘Golden twig’ bit meant that it was a smaller version of the usual Golden ash for which I really did not have garden space, but when it failed to grow more than two inches  a year I began to regret the purchase.


However it has flourished over the last couple of years since I pyrethrummed the mad boring grub that was ringbarking the base of the main trunk. I’ve since had to pyrethrum that grub’s extended family in the tunnels they’ve made in the stems of  a rose, buddleia, ginko, acacia, olive, birch and nectarine, the entrance always hidden behind a soft mesh of chewed  bark.

The grubs tunnel down the centre of the stem, but they also chew a circle of bark around the stem at the level of their entrance hole. Now I automatically check for a telltale curtain of bark mulch thickening the stems as I look at the plants. I have wondered what sort of creature the grub metamorphises into, what future beauty am I wantonly destroying

A delightful change from the yellows in this sedum (Sedum telephium ssp. ruprechtii?)in its autumn garb intertwined with Nepeta x faassenii “Dropmore” .


And boot button seed pods of Paeonia  lutea var. ludlowii


More little bulbs to plant out this weekend, my order arrived from Glenbrook, with gratefully received little extras, an order for 3 bulbs translates into 5, etc.


Stocken have already been planted in the iris garden, but the rest are waiting for some free time this weekend.
The garden is dotted with more garish plastic 18 kg dog food bags filled with very old horse manure to be spread all over the garden beds as mulch, the bags are not a good look but it will soon be remedied. In fact it was to have been remedied yesterday but I was distracted by the five foot stone wall that separates the top lawn terrace area from the iris bed slope below. It’s an old wall constructed from a range of huge and smaller sandstone blocks, I suspect it was the underpinning of a verandah along the front of the original pre bushfire  house, and is a little wonky in one spot — see below!.


At some time in the past the capping stones (they’re not really that fancy, just flatish stones placed along the top) were concreted together with an apron of concrete extending into what was probably lawn.  I’ve assumed this was to facilitate mowing as the concrete doesn’t appear to add any construction value and besides it has broken and moved considerably over the last 46 years. So yesterday I tackled a couple of small sections of the concrete with a crowbar, breaking it free of the capping stones and rearranging them evenly along the top. This necessitated some fancy footwork avoiding crushing various salvias, euphorbias and dianthus, avoiding stepping backwards over the edge at the wrong time, unhooking myself from the eager embrace of Rosa Mme de Tartas and frantically brushing an army of angry ants off my legs. Inevitably the blocks underneath needed repositioning and it was all a bit precarious. This is the moment when the employment of a strong young man would be useful — these moments are quite common in my garden!

While I was regarding my stonework from below I noticed these two inhabitants looking quite charming nose to nose


Unlike these larger and more colourful chaps that I photographed at Mystras in the Peloponnese having a real set to, notice the leg of one in the mouth of the other

Mystras lizards 10-05-08

Mystras lizards 10-05-08

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA couple more photos of the last roses opening, the lovely Austin “Heritage” and the tea rose ‘Mme de Tartas’ — or perhaps ‘Isobel Smith’, apparently the rose sold as ‘Mme de Tartas’ in Australia is another imposter.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy plant is  very free flowering, very tea like with slightly drooping thin petalled blooms, thorny and leggy, perhaps in need of some judicious pruning! I like it well enough but it’s never been a favourite of mine, certainly not a desert island rose. It was purchased unresearched  in a sale and originally planted it in an inappropriate position at my Mt Stuart garden. Eventually I removed it to a large pot while its future was debated, when I left Mt Stuart all the pots came with me.

The stems of the Stewartia pseudocamellia are packed tightly with buds but I’m sure this one is a bit ahead of time. The tree was one of the first I planted and has grown slowly, is more like a medium shrub at the moment, but incredibly generous with these glorious flowers.


Mmmm, definitely bandicoots having midnight feasts on scarab beetle grubs


Someone has noticed that the mornings are getting chilly and is hoping not to be noticed

Zoro still in bed

Zoro still in bed


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Going golden

  1. wildcygnet says:

    Hmmmm, what IS that in the last photo? Both crouching AND hidden!

    Magnificent colour Susan, your Autumn is ahead of ours. The golden twig is gorgeous. I’m surprised and delighted re the crab apples. The hot dry summer?

    Here in Eltham, so far only Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’ and Nyssa Sylvania ‘Autumn cascade’ are turning. In a chewed, chomped, burnt, dry, neglected mess of a garden. 😦

    Mr of Glenbrook has very artistic handwriting and presentation. Best get them in quickly. My first purchase from him thus year, and some already sprouting. So exciting.



    • Susan says:

      The Glenbrook bulbs are in now, all tucked up either in the ground or in pots, a couple had already sprouted a bit so could not be planted as deeply as I would have liked. We may be earlier because of the dry summer, this is what I’m hoping a couple of years of this blog will tell me when I can compare with longitudinal studies! Some trees are still hanging firmly on to their green though


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s